Monday, October 1, 2012

The Red Jacket

Several years ago I was walking through Dillard's and saw a beautiful red leather jacket.  I tried it on and loved the fit. In fact I loved everything about the jacket. . .except the price tag.  So I left it on the rack.  I have regretted it ever since.

I am extremely picky about jackets.  I don't like lapels.  I don't like collars.  Being tall, it is important that the sleeves are long enough.  Not any red will do. . .I don't want rust, I don't want cranberry. . .I want RED.

The jacket at Dillard's met all my pre-conceived criteria, except for the price.  It was exactly what I wanted, the real deal.  Since then I have tried on dozens of red-hued jackets, none of which come close enough to cause me to purchase them, even at a quarter the price.  They are not the "real-deal", they fall short of my standard of perfection for red jackets.  I have searched Ebay and Amazon for the elusive red jacket of my dreams, but none have met up to my list of qualifications.

Many times I have heard people say, "If I do more good things than I do bad things, then I will go to heaven."  This would imply that anything we do can have good merit in and of itself.  Yet the Scriptures tell us that apart from the saving work of the Lord Jesus, "... we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;" (Isaiah 64:6.)  Our good works can never be accepted by a God who is perfectly holy because they don't meet up to the standard of perfection.

What is that standard of perfection?  The Lord Jesus Christ.  His sinless life is the standard of perfection.  If we desire to reach Heaven on our own merits and works, then we have to be as perfect in word, action, thought and motive as He was, and He was without sin.

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Hebrew 4:5

All we can do is to humble ourselves before the Lord and be thankful that He is a God that "delighteth in mercy" and who is "good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee."  We confess that we cannot in and of ourselves obtain the path to Heaven, that we have all "sinned and come short of the glory of God."

We seek His grace, mercy and salvation provided through His Son, the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Then God wraps the righteousness of His dear Son around us and declares us His child as well.  Only His Son and His righteousness meets the standard and we must accept it by faith as a freely given gift.

Awake, my heart; arise, my tongue,
Prepare a tuneful voice;
In God, the life of all my joys,
Aloud will I rejoice.

’Tis He adorned my naked soul,
And made salvation mine;
Upon a poor polluted worm
He makes His graces shine.

And lest the shadow of a spot
Should on my soul be found,
He took the robe the Savior wrought,
And cast it all around.

How far the heav’nly robe exceeds
What earthly princes wear!
These ornaments, how bright they shine!
How white the garments are!

The Spirit wrought my faith, and love,
And hope, and every grace;
But Jesus spent His life to work
The robe of righteousness.

Strangely, my soul, art thou arrayed
By the great Sacred Three!
In sweetest harmony of praise
Let all thy powers agree.

Isaac Watts

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